Five years after construction began, and after more than a year of rigorous trial runs, the country’s first monorail from Chembur to Wadala on Monday received a final safety certification after a three-tier process, allowing the mass transit corridor to be opened for public use.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the implementing agency for the project, is now in the process of submitting the certification documents with the opening rules to the state government. The state will then decide when the monorail should be commissioned.
Ashwini Bhide, Additional Metropolitan Commissioner at the MMRDA, said, “We received the formal safety certification report today. It allows us to start commercial operations. We are submitting the safety certificate to the state government as it has to give a final go-ahead.”
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R C Garg, former chief commissioner of railway safety, has granted the final safety certificate for the 8.8-km Chembur-Wadala monorail, which will have seven stations, after a three-day inspection of the corridor that started last Monday.
Other vital documentation essential for the commissioning of the corridor is also being finalised. “The notification for opening rules for the corridor has gone for publication in the gazette. The commercial rules have also been approved and will be published in two days. It is all clear for the monorail now,” Bhide added.
The MMRDA had planned a three-phase safety certification process for the Chembur-Wadala monorail, which will be the first phase of the 19.5-km Chembur-Wadala-Jacob Circle monorail corridor. The contractor, a consortium of Larsen & Toubro and Malaysia’s Scomi Engineering, had appointed an independent auditor to conduct the first leg of safety checks.
Similarly, the MMRDA had appointed an independent safety auditor – Singapore’s SMRT Corp – for a safety audit of the monorail line, while the final review was to be done by a former chief commissioner of railway safety. As part of his three-day scrutiny, Garg reviewed the independent auditors’ reports, visited the alignment, the stations, the operation and maintenance preparedness, ticketing system, and other critical aspects of the monorail corridor.
Construction of the Chembur-Wadala-Jacob Circle monorail started in November 2008 and was originally expected to be completed in 2011. The entire 19.5-km corridor is being built at a cost of Rs 2,700 crore, which is now said to have increased due to the delay.